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Is the engineer's role being compromised?


Two questions were triggered in my mind by the recent debate over the Millennium Bridge.

While applauding the increased role of the architect in invigorating the design of bridges over the last decade or so, has the role of the engineer been compromised? In bridge design, is the engineer struggling to keep a clear separation between the need to stay employed on projects by keeping in favour with the architect, yet still drawing a line when the aspirations of the architect reach a little too far?

I know very little about the actual details of the bridge but would question whether the structure has found a mixedmode response (picking up combined vertical, horizontal and torsional deformations) where there is insufficient stiffness, rather than just insufficient damping, as appears topical so far in the press.

Ian G Smith (M), Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 9SX

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